Allergy & Acne-free Clothes

by | Jan 30, 2010

Laundry Products Must Be Free of Perfumes and Dyes

Problem: Laundry detergents, additives and fabric softeners can leave harmful residues that can irritate sensitive skin, cause a severe case of contact dermatitis, and worsen your acne or eczema.

What to look for: Acne or dermatitis on one side of your face, neck and body where you sleep, on your back, areas where you perspire, along the seams of your clothes, including under bra straps, necklines, waistlines, panty lines, the seams of your jeans, under socks, and anywhere clothing is fitted, tight or your skin comes in contact with chemical residue from washing powders, liquid detergents, additives and fabric softeners.

Allergies? When your skin comes into contact with perfumes and toxic chemical residues, you’re inhaling them too, triggering nasal allergies, wheezing and headaches.

Gentle detergents:Cheer Free & Gentle, All Free & Clear, Tide Free & Gentle, Tide Coldwater Free, Tide 2xUltra Free, Arm & Hammer Free of Perfumes/Dyes, Purex Free & Clear, CVS Free, ShopRite Ultra Free & Clear, Rite Aid Free, Seventh Generation Free & Clear, Safeway Select Free and Costco Kirkland Free & Clear Ultra. Instead of chlorine bleach, try Clorox2 for Colors Free & Clear. These products are free of perfumes, dyes, chlorine bleach, phosphates and enzymes, and are especially gentle on sensitive, rashy, dehydrated and acne-prone skin.

Less detergent and smaller loads: Do you “crowd” soiled clothing in the washing machine by attempting to turn three loads into two? Do you pour detergent directly into the washer without measuring?  Wash 25% less laundry per load, and use 25% less “free” detergent in the process. Always measure and then use a bit less. Clothing and bedding get much cleaner by agitating and circulating better. Less laundry in the washer and less detergent means cleaner, softer fabric, less chemical residue, a fresher natural scent and fewer skin problems.

Extra rinse cycle: When possible, put clothes through an extra rinse cycle to remove traces of soap residue to reduce the potential for persistent irritation.

Avoid fabric softeners, including fragrance-free dryer sheets, which leave a waxy residue that can clog your pores and irritate your skin. People freely admit to tossing multiple softener sheets into the dryer for one overcrowded load of “still soapy” laundry. Also, dryer sheets leave a transparent film on the lint filter that can restrict air flow, burn out the heating unit or start a fire.

Try using dryer balls, which last forever, save money and are environment-friendly. Add four to six dryer balls to soften clothes and bedding without chemicals.

Rewash everything you own with “free” detergent, including bedding, towels, clothing, socks and lingerie.

Clean shared washers, dryers and lint filters before each loadwith white vinegar (in a spray bottle) to remove detergent and softener residue left by others.

Wash new clothes before you wear them. Imported designer jeans, clothes and scarves are sprayed with toxic fungicides, pesticides and formaldehyde, and must be washed multiple times before wearing to prevent body acne, bacterial infections, rashes and skin discoloration.

Static? Try Static Guard, but only if static cling is a problem.

Dark, dry or irritated hands are often caused by exposure to sun, scented soaps, harsh detergents and fabric softener residue. No matter how busy or financially comfortable, some people insist on doing their own laundry, which can involve folding heavily-scented softener-soaked clothes with unprotected hands. Switch to unscented detergent, avoid fabric softener and wear fleece-lined latex gloves for household chores. Carry fragrance-free liquid soap, hand sanitizer, baby wipes and hand cream with you. Apply sunscreen to hands and arms before sun exposure.

©2013 Kathryn Khadija Leverette and

The material on this website is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.